31st NZ Homebased Early Childhood Education Association Conference 'Getting to the Heart of It’

27 September 2018

The New Zealand Home Based ECE Association held their 31st Annual Conference in Auckland at the Grand Millennium Hotel this past weekend.

Attendees included members made up of Homebased ECE service providers, visiting teachers and Homebased ECE educators from throughout New Zealand. The theme of the conference was ‘Getting to the Heart of it’.

Susan Phua, the Association’s President, commented that ‘it was a great opportunity for members to consult further with the Ministry of Education Homebased ECE review team, seeing as the consultation process closes on the 30th of this month. The Association has been actively involved in engaging with the review team to provide feedback from its members and are putting in a formal submission this week to the review team, so their involvement in the Conference was very timely indeed’.

Attending the Conference and giving a highly anticipated ministerial address was the Acting Minister of Education, Hon. Tracy Martin. The Minister spoke with passion about the intent of this Government to listen to the Homebased sector to ensure children are receiving quality education and care. Her address was welcomed by all in attendance.

Susan said ‘the NZHBECE Association agrees that the Government needs to have confidence that funding is directly linked to quality learning outcomes for children; homebased ECE has provided the lowest regulated ratios for children of all early learning services which is one of the many reasons parents choose Home Based early childhood education over other avenues. The sector is also one of the fastest growing ECE sectors in New Zealand.‘

The 2018 Conference focused throughout the weekend on key aspects to ensure quality Homebased ECE. Susan commented that the Association and its members embraces the introduction of a minimum level 4 ECE qualification. Of importance is how the level 4 qualification will look in the early transitional stage as providers introduce the qualification to all educators. Members also want to see provision for educators to be able to complete the qualification in their home languages.

The NZHBECE Association was excited to have Liz Everiss and Sonja Rosewarne from the Open Polytechnic at the Conference to make an important announcement for Association members. With the new level 4 being introduced, the Open Polytechnic will be offering zero fees for all members of the NZHBECE Association. This is a great opportunity for NZHBECEA members given the future direction of the Ministry of Education.

Keynote speakers for the event were Viv Shearsby and Kimberley Crisp, both of whom inspired the attendees and provided valuable learning opportunities for all.